SA, Zim four-day Test gets ICC approval

South Africa’s four-day day/night Test against Zimbabwe, scheduled to start on Boxing Day in Port Elizabeth, has been given the green light to go ahead at an International Cricket Council (ICC) board meeting in Auckland.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) scheduled the four-day Test with their African neighbours after India’s tour was pushed back to a later date.

However, CSA first had to wait for the ICC to give the game Test status, with cricket’s governing body saying on Friday that four-day Tests can be trialled until 2019 with a set of standardised playing conditions to be finalised.

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At the same board meeting, the ICC also set up a Test Championship and ODI league that will start in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

ICC chief executive David Richardson said: “Our priority was to develop an international cricket structure that gave context and meaning across international cricket and particularly in the Test arena.

“This has been delivered and every Test in the new League will be a five-day Test format.

“However throughout the discussions about the future of Test cricket it became clear that whilst context is crucial we must also consider alternatives and trial initiatives that may support the future viability of Test cricket.

“The trial is exactly that, a trial, just in the same way day-night Tests and technology have been trialled by Members.

“Four-day Tests will also provide the new Test playing countries with more opportunities to play the longer version of the game against more experienced opponents, which, in turn, will help them to hone their skills and close the gap with the top nine ranked teams.”